Wednesday, December 1

Album Of Last Month

My Chemical Romance 'Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys' (Reprise Records)

There are no black marching band uniforms. No Liza Minnelli backing vocals. And, just like their 2008 live album suggested, no more Black Parade. My Chemical Romance have a somewhat renaissance about them, and it's all at the mercy of fourth album 'Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys'. Of course, 'The Black Parade' was marvellous in transmogrifying the Jersey boys from very big emo band to very big rock band, however all-encompassing that may find you. But if 'Black Parade' was about restoring Freddie Mercury soprano and the weight of revenge-seeking perhaps only sought by Pink Floyd before them, 'Danger Days' is, like, THE NEXT LEVEL. There is a song with reportedly 266 'na's in it. The entire record, or concept, is set in 2019 California. And there's four such Fabulous Killjoys - Party Poison, Jet Star, Fun Ghoul and Kobra Kid - battling evil corporation Better Living Industries, all whilst being guided by radio DJ Dr Death Defying. Keep up and it's pretty straightforward - if MCR have become generic rock stars, they're the best bloody ones about.
A charming 30-second introduction from Dr Death Defying gets the tale on the road, before 'Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)'s blazing pace and irresistible uproar tremendously pushes the go button. "Everybody wants to change the world, everybody wants to change the world; But no-one, no-one wants to die," Gerard Way, aka Party Poison, recalls in a slight gesture to the last record's crux.
'SING', the album's second single proper, is one of those soppy-in-a-good-way numbers My Chem have become quite adept at, like 'The Ghost Of You' from 'Three Cheers' and 'I Don't Love You' from 'Parade'. On plodding guitars, Way chants: "For every time that they want to count you out, use your voice every single time you open up your mouth." It's exactly the kinda song this band are here for.
'Party Poison' picks up speed via some raspy, pummelling bass-work, while 'S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W' has the typa sentiment you'd find in a Jennifer Aniston rom-com. Yes, that does sound like a bad thing, but the impression of helplessness ("Love, love, love won't stop this bomb, bomb... Move your body when the sunlight dies, everybody hide") is too kosher to be hoity with.
The record's finest moment, though, lies with 'The Kids From Yesterday', but before that comes 'DESTROYA' - a cast-iron flick back to the MCR of 'I Brought You My Bullets', just hard-bitten unease and a perhaps jeering look at the still-primitive makeup of some of the West, Way spitting: "You don't believe in God, I don't believe in luck, they don't believe in us, but I believe we're the enemy."
And 'Kids', operating on a sweet, steadfast synthesiser, sees Way reflect: "All the cameras watch the accidents and stars you hate, they only care if you can bleed; Does the television make you feel the pills you ate? Or every person that you need to be." Bearing the MCR memo, take notice of yourself and yourself only - and heck, given the right hard-sell, this could be their biggest single to date.
Lastly, 'Vampire Money' closes things in a deliciously cynical manner - peeing on the 'Twilight' franchise and all vampires have become. Which is somewhat baffling, as most would pit MCR and 'Twilight' devotees together. Still, striking home like a scene from a virtuous 'Grease', Way rather funnily sources the '70s versions of Bowie and Bolan "in the morning sun" to wholly reject the notion of selling out (They were asked to soundtrack 'New Moon').
So, in case you missed it, not one Killjoy seems to have made it out alive. What 'Danger Days' heartily points at, however, is standing up and standing together, all the while having fun. We already know how important My Chemical Romance are to civilisation, but this only strengthens that further.

Best Track
The Kids From Yesterday